Ian Sweet, the music project of indie rocker Jilian Medford, was ready to make out with someone in her August single, “Your Spit.” But she has her guard up in “Emergency Contact,” her soft, wistful single released on Thursday, September 14, ahead of her Sucker album on November 3.
In the accompanying Brittany Reeber-directed video, Medford is alone and slowly slumping from a toppled chair to the floor as she sings, “I stopped writing you down / As my emergency contact / I bet you’re glad that you don’t have / To come runnin’ / Every time I fall back.”
Medford admits “it gets so dark sometimes,” but she still avoids reaching out to whom she’s lost because she’s “not ready to see what I’m missin’.” Roughly 90 seconds into the five-minute video, the director yells cut and asks Medford to “do it again but just, like, much better” — illustrating her feelings of inadequacy. Medford tries again, but the director still isn’t satisfied, and now, she’s crying as her makeup is reapplied.
Everyone on set is giving Medford the side-eye. But by the end, she stares directly into the camera with confidence, strumming her guitar and singing, “I don’t mind / I don’t wanna get it right / This time.” And that earns her overwhelming approval.
“‘Emergency Contact’ is biting and sarcastic at its core,” Medford said in a statement. “It’s a protection song to myself mostly. Trying to convince myself that I didn’t really want what I had lost in the first place as a way of coping with the outcome. The video we made for it is one of my favorite Ian Sweet videos ever (especially since it ties in with the ‘Your Spit’ video as well).”
She continued, “I wanted to represent the humor that often goes hand-in-hand with deep sadness. In the video, Martin [Herlihy] (who plays the director) keeps quickly snapping me out of those deep dark moments and pushing my buttons to try to get a rise out of me so in turn I’ll put on the best performance possible.”
Watch the “Emergency Contact” video above, and check out the Sucker cover art and tracklist below.
1. “Bloody Knees”
2. “Smoking Again”
3. “Emergency Contact”
6. “Your Spit”
Sucker is out 11/3 via Polyvinyl. Find more information here.